The Best Desks for Every Style and Budget

Find the right tabletop for every need, from homework stations to ergonomic computer desks.

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July 19, 2021

The desk is the most versatile piece of furniture. It doubles as a console, can be used as a makeshift buffet and is the ultimate command center for homework, mail, working from home, crafting and so much more. Like its many uses, desks come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. If you’re shopping for a new desk, we’ve broken down the design lingo and rounded up the best desks for every need, from standing computer desks to space-saving fold-out desks. Even better: Many of these top-rated desks are under $200 and some are under $100 with free shipping. Take a look at our favorites below and see which desk is right for your space.

Desk Shopping 101

When shopping for a desk, there’s a lot to consider, but the material is likely the most important. A real wooden desk — if taken care of will last generations, but if the tabletop isn’t treated or protected with a panel of glass, you’ll need to remember to use coasters. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of water rings. Particleboard desks aren’t as durable as solid wood desks, but they’re much more affordable. However, most furniture produced with particleboard (AKA almost everything at IKEA) requires assembly.

Another important factor is height. The average height for an office desk is 29 inches, but if you’re using a desk for computer work, you may want something with the ability to adjust height either for standing or simply raising a computer screen to eye level. Storage is also important. For homework stations, a hutch or cabinet of drawers is handy for sorting papers and keeping school supplies organized.

Best Writing Desk

Sometimes called a correspondence desk, the writing desk is likely what you think of when you picture a desk. And though we don’t sit down to pen long letters with quills anymore, a writing desk is still a great spot for paying the bills, sorting through stationery when you need to mail a card and keeping up with the family calendar. A writing desk is smaller and less bulky than an office desk and typically doesn’t feature much storage. The Drommen Desk from CB2 is a great example of a modern writing desk. It’s not too big or clunky and reviews praise it for its spacious tabletop despite its narrow profile.

Best Computer Desk

Any desk can be a computer desk especially if you just have a laptop but what makes an actual computer desk great is cord control. This computer desk from Crate & Barrel is the epitome of form and function with trendy grasscloth drawers and a secret compartment in the back for cords. The best part: The compartment has outlets! This is a game-changer if you need to put a desk along the back of a sofa or along a wall without an outlet.

Best Standing Desk

Ergonomic furniture isn’t just for fancy office buildings. If you work from home, you need a desk and a desk chair that offer support. A standing desk keeps computer screens at eye level, which alleviates your neck and shoulders and prevents hunching over. Standing can increase circulation and alleviate lower back pain. The Floyd Standing Desk has earned rave reviews this past year from homeowners creating makeshift offices amid the pandemic. What separates Floyd from other standing desks is the wood and leg color options. The light birch and white leg combo is less office-y and feels more like home. And unlike other pricey models, this standing desk is under $900.

Best Lift-Top Desk

If a customizable standing desk isn’t in the budget, another more affordable option is a lift-top desk. These desks feature a tabletop that pops out for an elevated surface. We love this light oak version from Project 62 at Target. It would be perfect for a home office or college apartment.

Best Executive Desk

An executive desk is more common for office spaces, but if your home is your office, this might be exactly what you need. An executive desk comes in various materials, but what defines it is the signature, symmetrical cabinets that flank the desk. Executive desks have earned a reputation for being stuffy, clunky and dated, but there are tons of modern styles online that are more casual and less 1980s paralegal office. This executive desk from Wayfair riffs off midcentury modern style and even has matching furniture pieces if you need to outfit an entire home office.

Best Fold-Out Desk

If you’re tight on space but need a dedicated spot for a laptop, a simple fold-out desk is just what you need. But don’t confuse a fold-out desk with other wall-mounted decor or try to fake a desk with a floating shelf as these can’t hold the weight of a laptop. The Trenton Pop-Up Table from Pottery Barn is sturdy and perfect for when you need a makeshift desk. And when you’re done, it folds up flush against the wall.

Best Crafting Desk

If you need a tabletop for crafting projects, you can’t go wrong with the CB2 rolling desk. At $159, it's just an all-around good buy. It’s sturdy. It’s mobile. It’s sleek. No, it doesn’t have fancy tech cubbies or any storage at all, but this thing is so versatile. If you do need storage, there are matching filing cabinets that roll under the desk perfectly.

Best Secretary Desk

Oh, the secretary desk. Like a traditional writing desk, these tables kind of faded out of style as the functional needs of desks evolved, but I’ve always been fascinated by them. There’s something a bit mysterious about sliding an ornate wooden hood over all of your correspondence and clutter. It’s like a really fancy hiding place. And true antique secretary desks go for thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. But you can get the look without the hefty price tag at Wayfair. This Kelly Clarkson secretary desk has gorgeous letter sorters and something antiques don’t have: built-in power outlets.

Best Minimal Desk

If you don’t like the look of bulky drawers and just want a clean, minimal desk, this affordable desk from Walmart is just the ticket. It comes in black, white and dark brown and features one drawer for storing a keyboard or notepad. If you have an open-concept living room, this desk could also double as a console table.

Best Corner Desk

Short on wall and floor space? A corner desk can take the smallest little nook and turn it into a bonafide office area. The Tate Desk from Crate & Barrel has modern style and technology with a secret side outlet and two USB chargers.

Best L-Shaped Desk

Like corner desks, L-shaped desks really make the most of small spaces. It’s like having two tabletops in one, which is perfect if you need both a computer desk and a space for art projects at the same time. This Amazon Basics L-shaped desk comes in black, light wood with white legs and dark wood with black legs. For Amazon Prime members, it’s under $150 with free two-day shipping.

Best Desk With Hutch

Desk storage doesn’t have to be big, bulky cabinet drawers. A desk with a hutch is kind of like a bigger vanity with drawers up top. This hutch desk from Walmart has a modern-meets-apothecary vibe, and the price is right at under $150!

Best Small Desk

IKEA is the king of big style for a small space, and this Lommarp desk is perfect for shared or multipurpose rooms. The combination of the dark green color and brass pull is on-trend, and this desk is smart, too. There’s a compartment to hide small tech and cords so you could easily turn this into a mini bar while entertaining.

Best Ladder Desk

Ladder and wall desks are a great way to maximize square footage without taking up too much floor space. Because instead of going out, these desks go up — like one big long hutch. This West Elm desk is a collaboration with PB Teen, and it checks all the boxes: gorgeous acorn color, corkboard, built-in USB power strip and even integrated LED lighting.

Best Wall-Mounted Desk

If you like the fold-out concept, but want more desk, a wall-mounted unit is the best of both worlds. Like a fold-out desk, a wall-mounted desk doesn’t take up floor space, but these units typically have storage nooks. It’s kind of like a floating hutch. This white desk from Walmart is perfect for creating a homework station or tiny office in a kitchen.

Best Kids' Desk

From crafting to math worksheets, kids need a dedicated homework space, and this Martha Stewart desk keeps school essentials totally organized. The hutch features a corkboard strip for displaying artwork and reminders as well as a shelf for pens, markers and more. There’s even a cutout in the back for computer and iPad cords. This desk also comes with a matching chair.

Best Budget Desk

Target always has a great selection of desks under $100, but this Project 62 is one of our favorites. At just $90, it’s got midcentury modern style and open shelves that could easily double as a keyboard holder or store the essentials.

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